11 Jun 2014

As fathers and husbands, we are called not only to provide for our families but also to protect them spiritually, emotionally and physically. How do we do this in our homeschooling families? How do we protect our homeschool from spiritual and emotional intrusions and distractions, such as frustration, disappointment, anger, envy, isolation and rebellion, when most often, we are working outside the home? We are all familiar with alarm systems, and a good alarm system will respond and alert us quickly when someone or something enters our property or our home. As homeschool fathers and husbands, we should be the alarm systems for our families and our homeschools to protect against spiritual and emotional intrusions and distractions that can disrupt and undermine our success. Let’s look at the characteristics of any good alarm system, and see how we as homeschool fathers and husbands can emulate a good alarm system for our families.

When you call an alarm company to install an alarm system in your house, the first thing the technician does is walk around your house to identify places where a predator might be able to gain entry. Like the alarm company technician, we as homeschool fathers and husbands, must first identify the logical points of entry for spiritual and emotional intrusions and distractions in our homes. The Bible already identifies how spiritual and emotional intrusions can enter our lives, so we as fathers and husbands must first look at our own lives to see where we may be vulnerable. We must then look very closely at our families and our relationships within and without the family to identify potential threats and areas of discord.

Once the alarm company technician identifies where and how a predator might be able to enter your home, the technician will develop a plan to protect those areas. In developing this plan, the technician will decide whether to install a closed-circuit or open-circuit system on the outside of your house and what type of motion detector system to install inside your house. In our homeschools, we must also develop a plan (vision) to protect the areas in our lives and our family’s lives that are vulnerable to spiritual and emotional intrusions. We must be sensitive to our own strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of our families to develop a plan to fortify the weaknesses and supplement the strengths. Like the alarm company technician, we must use different sensors to detect different types of threats. The technician uses an open or closed-circuit system on the doors and windows to detect entry and motion detectors on the inside to detect movement.

As fathers and husbands, we can often get caught using only one type of sensor or method of detecting trouble within our homes. For example, a father who is sensitive to detect and respond to a lack of discipline and respect in the home, might not be sensitive to the fact that his response to discipline may cause other problems such as the child feeling that the father doesn’t love them, is too critical, uncaring, insensitive or just plain mean. These feelings can lead to all sorts of emotional and spiritual problems for children that can have lasting effects into their adulthood. Thus, like the alarm technician, we must develop and install in our own lives different types of sensors or in this case, senses, to detect these feelings in our children and respond to them appropriately. For many of us, this is not easy to do. But, when we are developing a plan of protection against these kinds of spiritual and emotional intrusions and distractions, it is critical that we have different ways of detecting and responding to these problems.

Now, the alarm company technician has placed the sensors in the designated areas and installed the alarm system, but what good would an alarm system be if no one monitored it and responded when the alarm was set off? Wives generally feel safer with an alarm system that comes with a 24/7 monitoring and response system, and it’s no different with a family alarm. We may be working outside the home nine to twelve hours a day, but our wives still expect and deserve a husband who will find a way to monitor 24/7 the dynamics and relationships in the home. This may sound trite and cliché, but the best way we as homeschool fathers and husbands can monitor our homeschools and families is to “Stop, look, and listen.”

First, even though we may work outside of the home, when we come home, we must stop! That means, we must stay at home. We may not be able to go out with friends after work, watch the game by ourselves at home or even go to bed after dinner. We must stop to participate in whatever family activities are going on when we come home, even the ones we don’t enjoy. Second, after we stop, we must look and observe how our spouses interact with the children and how the children interact with our spouses. Third, we must make time to listen to what our spouses and our children say about their day. As we listen, though, we listen not only to what they say, but we also listen for clues as to whether certain aspects of their days are symptoms of larger issues that need to be addressed.

One of the best ways and places to monitor your homeschool and family is during family meal times. If you don’t already do so, make it a habit and custom for everyone to eat at least one meal together every day. During these daily meals, talk with everyone about their day. Observe the interaction between siblings and between the children and your spouse. At the end of the day, spend time simply talking to your spouse. Listen proactively to any of her concerns, but remember that sometimes our spouses only want us to listen and not attempt to fix a perceived problem. It is okay to ask your spouse, “Is there anything I can do to help?” If she says, “No,” make a mental note of the problem, because if it continues to occur, you might need to step in and offer some assistance anyway. If she says, “Yes,” respond immediately. For some spouses, that means within fifteen minutes of her saying, “Yes.” For others, it may mean the same day, even if she asked you late in the evening. Very rarely will it mean next week. We may not be able to completely resolve the problem in twenty-four hours, but our spouses will appreciate it more if they see us working as hard as we can to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. An alarm system that waits seven days to respond to an intruder is useless, and this is how our wives will feel about us if we fail to respond immediately to the concerns or problems that are brought to our attention.

Once we have planned, installed and monitored 24/7 our spiritual and emotional alarm system, we can begin to enjoy the peace and security that comes with a fully functioning system. As husbands, we can all appreciate that when our spouses feel secure, protected and appreciated, not only will we benefit, but the whole family will benefit. Our spouses will do the extra nice little things for us that we have always wanted them to do, just because they feel secure and appreciate the time and effort we have put into making this happen. To those of us who have experienced it, these benefits far outweigh any time we have spent planning, installing and monitoring our alarm system. In fact, we are more alert than ever to any spiritual or emotional intrusions or distractions trying to enter into our homeschools and families. I know of one homeschool husband and father who described these benefits as a “gravy train that runs on time every day!” He stated that he would quickly deal with anybody or anything that tried to stop it.

So, in the same way that our spouses feel more secure when we install a physical alarm system with 24/7 monitoring, our spouses will feel supported, appreciated, less stressed and more secure in their roles as mothers and homeschool teachers when we as homeschool fathers and husbands take the time to plan, install and monitor 24/7 our alarm system to protect against spiritual and emotional intrusions into our homeschool and families.